Page images

the children of Israel ; as Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass 36the selfsame day, that Yahweh 51 did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. [...]

1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me all 13 the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast : it is mine.

(J) (Rd) And Moses said unto the people, Remember this 3 day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage ; for 3by strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from this place : there shall no (J) leavened bread be eaten. *This day ye go forth in the 4 month Abib. And it shall be when Yahweh shall 5 (Rd) bring thee into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. "Seven days thou shalt eat unlea vened 6 bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the 7 seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with (Rd) thee, 'in all thy borders. And thou shalt tell thy son in 8 that day, saying, It is because of that which Yahweh did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, 9 and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the law of Yahweh may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Yahweh brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

(J) And it shall be when Yahweh shall bring thee i into the land of the Canaanite, as he 'sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, that thou 12 shalt set apart unto Yahweh all that openeth the womb, and every firstling which thou hast that cometh of a beast; the males shall be Yahweh's. "And every 13 firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its


36Vv. 17, 41 ; 16:1 ; 19:1. 128 : 41 ; etc. cf. vv. uff. 2Vs. 14 ; 20 : 2 ; Dt. 5:6; 6: 12 ; 8: 14; 13: 5, 10 etc. 3Vv. 9, 16; 3 : 194 ; 6: 1 etc. 434 : 18. 53:8; 33 : 2 etc. 6Cf. 12 : 15f. 78:2; 10: 4, 14. 810 : 2 ; 12:24 ; Vs. 16 ; Dt. 6:4-9 ; 11: 18-21 etc. 'Gen. 15: 18. 29f. ; 34: 19 cf, vv. if. 1134: 20.

10 22:

neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy sons 14 (Rd) shalt thou redeem. 12 And it shall be when thy son asketh

thee in time to come, saying, What is this ? that thou shalt say unto him,

13 By strength of hand Yahweh brought us out from Egypt, from the house 15 of bondage : and it came to pass, when Pharaoh would 14hardly let us go,

that Yahweh slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to Yahweh all that

openeth the womb, being males ; but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem. 16 15 And it shall be for a sign upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine

eyes: for by strength of hand Yahweh brought us forth out of Egypt.


$ III. EXODUS xiii. 17-xix. 25. THE EXODUS: FROM EGYPT



According to the.priestly writer Israel went forth on the morning of the fifteenth of the first month, in the sight of the Egyptians engaged in the burial of their dead, and “with an high hand" (Num. xxxiii. 3f. ; xiv. 8). Taking their departure from Succoth they reach Etham “in the edge of the wilderness"; xiii. 20. But Yahweh is not satisfied with so easy a victory, purposing to make a signal exhibition of his power upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians (cf. xiv. 4). Moses and the people are therefore bidden to retrace their steps. Returning again from the wilderness they place themselves in an apparent cul-de-sac, south of the isthmus, where the road to the east is cut off by the Gulf of Suez. Pharaoh's heart is hardened by Yahweh, and he pursues after and overtakes his aggravating foes “encamped beside Pihahiroth, before Baal-zephon.” At Yahweh's command Moses stretches out his hand over the sea, which divides, and Israel passes over on dry land. Pharaoh's army, divinely emboldened, follow after. Moses is again directed to stretch out his hand and the watery walls collapse, engulfing the Egyptians ; xiv. if.3 (?), 4., 8., 15f., in part ; 17f., 212, C, 22f., 26, 273, 28a, 29. One month thereafter Israel comes to the wilderness of Sin ; xvi. 1. At this point is brought in the story of Israel's murmuring for the flesh-pots of Egypt. 12 Dt. 6 : 20ff. 13Vs. 3 etc. 149 : 35; 10 : 20, 27. 15 Dt. 6:8f. ; 11: 18.

Moses and Aaron summon the congregation before the tabernacle (sic), whereupon “the glory of Yahweh " appears in the cloud (sic), and Yahweh rebukes the people, but promises flesh and bread. In the evening quails cover the camp ; with the morning dew appears a white edible flake, to which Israel gives the name of “Manna." This becomes their food until they come to Canaan. Aaron is bidden to lay up a pot thereof before the “ Testimony” (sic) to be kept ; ch. xvi., for the most part. After a station at Rephidim (xvii, 1a) "the whole congregation comes to Sinai on the fifteenth of the third month ; xix. 2a, 1.

According to E Israel went forth in battle array, laden only with the spoil of Egypt, gold and jewels, and the bones of Joseph (with xiii. 19 cf. Gen. 1. 25f.). God (Elohim) led them, but not by the nearest road, on account of the hostility of the Philistines ; a détour is made, which brings them to the Red Sea ; xiii. 17-19 (cf. Jos. xxiv. 6). Here Pharaoh, pursuing “with chariots and horsemen” (Jos. xxiv. 6), overtakes them. Israel cries out to Yahweh, who puts darkness between them and the Egyptians, the angel of God removing from before and

going” behind the camp of Israel ; xiv. 3 (?), 7 in part, 1ob, 19f. in part (cf. Jos. xxiv. 7). Moses stretches out his rod over the sea [which opens a passage for Israel, (cf. Is. X. 24, 26; Ixiii. 12)] while Yahweh brings the waters upon Pharaoh's pursuing host and covers them ; xiv. 16a, 240, 25a (?), 31a (?); (Jos. xxiv. 7). This victory is celebrated by Miriam and the women in responsive song and dance ; xv, 20f. Hereafter Israel comes to [Massah] where they are put to the “test” (massah) by Yahweh by a

statute and ordinance" preliminary to the covenant at Horeb. This test consists in the giving of the food called

manna,” of which each is to take but a single day's supply. Some endeavor to lay up for the morrow, and excite Moses' wrath ; xv. 25b; xvi. 4, 15, 16a, 20f., 35. Here (?) the people suffer thirst, and rebel against Moses ; who at Yahweh's command goes before the people to Meribah] and smites with the rod upon the rock in Horeb," whereupon water issues forth for the people ; xvii. 3-6. At this point are inserted the story of the battle with Amalek at Rephidim, in which Moses, by


means of the uplifted rod, obtains victory for Israel, and the story of Jethro's visit to Moses at the mount of God (sic) leading to the appointment of judges to assist Moses in administering justice, and in making the people know the statutes of God and his laws (sic): xvii. 8-16 ; ch. xviii. Arrived at Horeb Moses goes up to God and receives directions in preparation for a sublime theophany to the people, and a divine covenant ; xix. 3-10, 14-17, 19.

According to J Israel is led forth from Egypt by Yahweh in a pillar of fire and cloud. But when Pharaoh heard of their flight he changed his mind and pursued after them. Israel, seeing the pursuers and despairing of escape, murmurs against Moses, but is reassured by the promise of divine help ; xiii. 21f.; xiv. 5-7 mainly, 10a, 11-14. The pillar of fire and cloud removes from before the camp of Israel and “stands” behind them, intercepting the pursuers all night. Yahweh causes the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, exposing the shoals, over which Israel make their escape. In the morning watch the battle ensues, but Yahweh “ looks forth from the pillar of fire and cloud,” and puts the Egyptians to rout. They “flee against ” the returning tide, Yahweh “shaking them off in the midst of the sea, so that “not so much as one remained.” The sight of the Egyptian dead upon the seashore, and the experience of Yahweh's salvation beget faith in the peoples' mind. Moses and Israel celebrate the triumph in song ; xiv. 19b, 20b, 21 in part, 24f. in part, 27f, in part, 30f, in part; xv. I. Moses leads Israel out into the wilderness, Yahweh directing him at Marah how to sweeten the bitter waters ; XV. 22–25a. They encamp at Elim, and later at a place called Massah, because the people there “tempted ” Yahweh ; xv. 27 ; xvi. ia; xvii. 3, 2b, 7 in part. At Sinai Yahweh reveals himself in fire, directing Moses, with the priests and elders, to come up unto Yahweh, after precautions against intrusion by the people ; xix. II-13, 18, 20–25.

In this entire section the superior worth of J over E as a historical source is peculiarly apparent, and this is most distinctly recognizable in the narratives where actual historic tradition is undeniably present. There is no reasonable doubt that the story of the crossing of the Red Sea, wherein, as Paul well says, the nation was baptized unto Moses," was the folktale of Israel par excellence, related from time immemorial at every Passover feast. It was the national independence day, birthday and christening-day in one : and the victory then achieved over the host of Pharaoh was one which baptized the nation unto Yahweh, the God in whose name Moses had summoned them to the liberty of the desert as the God of their fathers, no less than “unto Moses.” Its opportuneness and its providential character both alike ensured a lasting remembrance of it in the tradition of the nation then born, as the proof that Yahweh is indeed the God of Israel, and Israel is his people. Such a remembrance is certainly preserved in the essentially plain and trustworthy account of J, wherein Moses leads Israel off the high-road, to the south of the fortified isthmus, to where, under favorable conditions and the guidance of one familiar with the locality, a crossing could be effected over the shallows of the “Sea of Reeds.” Had not the providential “wind of Yahweh,” however, driven back the sea, the effort to cross, with Pharaoh's troops unexpectedly attacking the rear, would have been hopeless. The night-crossing, under the gloomy thunder-clouds, the battle in the morning on the further shore, when the breaking forth of the sun revealed the Egyptians entangled in the quicksands and drowned by the returning tide, are not the work of imagination, but of grateful and undying recollection, refreshed at every Passover feast.

All the greater appears the contrast in the parallel accounts. The rigid, mechanical wonder-working of P2 is indeed no more than we have learned to expect from this writer ; but in E we might expect something of the actual remembrance to survive. Critics like Dillman and Kittel, who maintain the origin of E to be earlier than of J, doubtless hold that if the E element of ch. xiv. could be extricated we should find it to contain as much, or more, of the historical character than J. Unfortunately this belief, if it exists, is here ill-founded. The passage Is. X. 26, “ As his rod was over the sea, so shall he lift it up

« PreviousContinue »